In March Age and nine 60 minutes found that four children were among the Victorians who died after those who tried to save them from serious injury or illness made urgent ambulance calls that were never answered or were picked up too late.
Among them was 14-year-old Alicia Hussein, who died after her mother was forced to take her to hospital when they waited more than 15 minutes for a call with a triple zero number to connect to an ESTA operator. Two children also died as a result of a significant call after drowning.
Although the surge in demand for COVID-19 is partly to blame for connection delays, experienced emergency workers previously said Age they reported a call waiting time of more than a minute, starting at least from mid-2019, long before the pandemic, and said many warnings had not been heeded.
As the agency continues to struggle with answering thousands of calls in five seconds, the Victoria government has pledged more than $ 300 million to fund hundreds of new workers.
Recently released by Ashton reviewwho made 20 recommendations, which were in principle adopted by the Andrews government, called for the dissolution of the ESTA board and the renaming of the agency to Triple Zero Victoria.
The new agency will be incorporated into the Department of Justice and Public Safety to improve state oversight of its operations, and Ashton found that ESTA’s remoteness from the government has impaired service delivery. A new board of advisers will be formed, which includes members of the Victoria Ambulance and Victoria Police.
“The current distance between ESTA and the government creates an increasingly difficult situation for the ESTA board to support ESTA leadership to meet corporate and operational service expectations,” Ashton said.
Difficulties in recruiting and retaining experienced interlocutors also contributed to the organization’s failures, making it difficult to respond to increased capacity in the face of demand surges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and rising cases of other emergencies such as storms, floods and forest fires.
The review called on the Victoria government to allocate current ESTA funding so that they can use a sustainable pipeline of those receiving calls based on current and future demand for emergency services.
Asked how many negative events ESTA is aware of with references to delays in responding to calls three times, ESTA and the Victoria government said it would be inappropriate to discuss this given the work of the Inspector General for Emergencies and the Coroner.
An ESTA spokeswoman said the response time had improved significantly since January.
“All deaths or serious injuries are emotional and devastating for families and friends left behind, and we extend our sincere condolences to them as they continue to grieve,” she said.
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